The Infinite Zenith

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Tag Archives: Sig

Upotte!!: OVA Impressions

Oh, look, anthropomorphic guns. I love anthropomorphic guns. THANKS, ANTHROPOMORPHIC GUNS; so many anthropomorphic guns. More anthropomorphic guns, thank goodness…are you taking my anthropomorphic guns from me? Are you sapping my signal?!

Released some five months after the finale aired, the OVA showcases Funco, Ichiroku, Eru and Sig’s camping trip in the mountains, where they do some fishing in the river, smash a watermelon and relax in a natural hot spring. Later in the evening, after the girls turn in for the night, Funco and Sig make a promise that they’ll always be together.

  • This scene is strikingly similar to the landscape in Sora no Woto. It’s been nearly three years since I watched Sora no Woto, Broken Blade and The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, and two years since I watched Angel Beats!, CLANNAD, CLANNAD ~After Story~, and Tari Tari. I may come back and begin porting reviews from the old website here with a new flair in the future if time permits.

  • Viewers who were feeling a little disappointed by the execution in the final two episodes of Upotte!! will have waited some five months for an OVA that captures all of the series’ spirit. Light-hearted and entertaining, comedy carries the episode. Elle

  • In Survivorman, Les Stroud notes that in a survival situation, having a fishing tackle can mean the difference between life and death. There are several instances where Stroud was able to capture fish (most notably, in Colorado and the Arctic Tundra) because his kit contained the necessary gear for him to go fishing. In a few other cases, Stroud has successfully speared fish, too.

  • I wish I still had Discovery Channel: after upgrading to Shaw Broadband two years ago, I enjoyed having a few additional channels and spent most of my time after biochemistry classes watching Mighty Ships and Mayday on Discovery. I recall a warm summer evening watching Survivorman: 10 days after doing a practise full-length MCAT exam.

  • Many reviews out there make some mention of the quality of animation and artwork in their discussions. I do not typically consider animation techniques to be important enough to mention unless they do something spectacular (such as the camera panning seen in Gundam Unicorn and the K-ON! Movie), and similarly, series with particularly poor animation are dropped: minor inconsistencies are not sufficient to make me rage-quit.

  • Like most of the the anime I watch, Upotte!! falls between “the art and animation were so poor that I didn’t consider that series to be worth my while” and “masterfully executed such that the artwork and animation become integral to the experience”.  The artwork is satisfactory for the most part, although my favourite scenes do involve beautiful shots of the landscapes. I note that Funco has a significantly more moé appearance in the anime, whereas in the manga, she has a far sharper appearance, with angular lines replacing the gentler curvatures seen in the anime.

  • Sig and Funco prepare dinner after everyone relaxes in a natural hot springs conveniently located near their campsite. Because the OVA was a Blu-Ray exclusive, the steam was turned off, and I am glad to have watched this away from questioners. For obvious reasons, I won’t include any screenshots.

  • Ichiroku and Elle come across a baby boar that is essentially CLANNAD‘s Botan. Ichiroku caves to Elle’s begging and spares it from becoming dinner. Elle’s actions are particularly adorable during the OVA, whether she’s distracting Ichiroku after the latter becomes disheartened at Funco and Sig’s skills at skipping stones, or thinking daggers at Ichiroku when her fishing is disrupted.

  • The girls set of a fireworks display after dinner concludes, and with it, the episode draws to a quiet close, acting as a suitable send-off for Upotte!!.

  • Why do I watch the more unusual anime, one asks? I do it partially because I deal with academic materials day in and day out, and anime are my means of kicking back to relax. I realise that different anime work for different people, although I find it immature to try and write off an anime as poor using purportedly “objective” approaches: if there’s an anime I didn’t like overall, I’ll try to present what I like and what I didn’t like. Speaking of which, I will need to do a talk on Kokoro Connect and Papa Iukoto o Kikinasai at some point in the future. I completed those series and have some thoughts on them that might merit sharing.

The opening quote was inspired by some lines from a YouTube video about the De Schippers van de Kameleon game featuring some shameless promotions for the T-mobile service provider for phones. Said video has next to nothing to do with the Upotte!! OVA, but both end up being amusing in their own right. In particular, the quote captures the OVA’s content about as effectively as the episode summary itself, which, while some may view as a negative, should probably not dissuade anyone who had enjoyed the original airing of Upotte!! from watching the OVA. The OVA is strikingly familiar to virtually every other slice-of-life anime set with a camping trip, but featuring the cast of Upotte!! allows for a slightly different approach to be taken towards depicting how the girls go about enjoying their camping trip. This was a fun episode, but as is the case with most anime (and OVAs) that are this casual in nature, the discussion is really quite limited. I will note that the version I watched was the Blu-Ray version, and as such, the content in some scenes preclude their inclusion as screenshots for obvious reasons. Other than a few minutes of anatomy unhindered by Frostbite 3 particle effects, the OVA is reasonably enjoyable.

Upotte!!: Final reflections

“WHERE’S THE TRIGGER? WHERE IS IT?! You never gave it to an ordinary citizen! Where’s the trigger?! Where is it?!! Tell me where the trigger is…then you have my permission to die!” -World’s Greatest Detective.

In Upotte!!, I will only say that it’s a better idea that we don’t find the trigger. Despite its more unforgiving premise about anthropomorphic firearms, Upotte!! ends up being a reasonably entertaining anime that is one part fan-service for two parts of insight and background about firearms set in a middle-school setting. The show provides some history into the design and development of modern assault rifles, taking care to reflect the strengths, limitations and peculiarities about the firearms into their respective personifications. While the knowledge itself isn’t particularly inaccessible (pulling up an encyclopaedia on modern weapons will do a similar job of explaining things), the entertainment factor seems to come from how each of the unique aspects about a weapon are translated into a physical or social aspect about the characters. For instance, the M16A4 is a burst-fire weapon, and Ichiroku similarly operates in bursts of activity, followed by inactivity. Similarly, because the L85A2 is prone to frequent breakdowns, Elle succumbs to illnesses frequently. These characterisations provide a rather unusual, but amusing, representation of firearm operation; the humour in Upotte!! derives strongly from giving firearm attributes to middle-school girls and watching them interact with one another. The comedy from the characters and setup drive Upotte!!, since the story in the series is about as complex as a round of death match or conquest in Battlefield 3. In retrospect, the battle sequences were reminiscent of those in Stella Women’s Academy (I say so because I watched the latter first), and proved to be mildly entertaining compared to the character interactions. Furthermore, the elements near the end with the Kalashnikov and other Russian rifles did not have sufficient exposition to carry much weight in the anime. Barring the occasional moments where Upotte!! attempts to capture (unsuccessfully) the feel of a Battlefield 3 match, Upotte!! is able to balance out these moments through its characterisation and execution of the more comedic moments.

  • Enemy machine gunner spotted. Yeah, I’ve spotted an enemy sniper. Hostile helicopter in your AO, over. I’ve spotted a hostile AT in your area. Be advised, I’ve spotted an enemy jet in your AO. Be advised, you’re being advised, over.

  • It seems that an increasing proportion of anime I have include hot springs, open baths, culture festivals and so forth. I am more tolerant of recycled elements and clichés compared to a vast majority of the reviewers because I believe that the parts alone do not determine the quality of the whole: that is to say, I judge series for their overall entertainment value, and consider any of the individual parts alone only if they really stand out.

  • Despite appearing aloof and distant as Maho Nishizumi and Teru Miyanaga, Jeethree, Ichiyon and Fal come across as being very friendly, striving to help Funco and her friends where possible. They are modelled after the Heckler and Koch G3A3, M14 and FAL L1A1, respectively, being chambered for a heavier battle rifle round.

  • Elle’s expression is so endearing, I might just use this for an avatar somewhere.

  • The sunsets and blue skies in Upotte!! are something else. The anime’s title was derived off the reverse pronunciation of the Japanese noun 鉄砲 (teppou, lit. guns), although this is technically not a palindrome and therefore cannot be considered to be a reverse-spelling.

  • Elementary-aged children represent submachine guns for firing smaller caliber pistol cartridges. In Battlefield 3, my favourite personal defense weapon at present is the PP-2000, a Russian submachine gun that I equip with a laser sight, extended mags and a Kobra RDS: of all my personal defense weapons, it has the most kills, even more so than the UMP.

  • The M16 rifle series is perhaps one of the most recognisable assault rifles out there, coming in only behind the AK-47 in terms of familiarity. In many movies, automatic firearms have sustained fire for minutes at a time, and the operators often get what is equivalent to several hundred rounds of firing time. In reality, a standard 30 round magazine would empty out in around two seconds.

  • Those who are willing to suspend their disbelief will find Upotte!! to be remarkably amusing. This show is geared towards individuals who like moé anime and modern military shooters.

  • On occasion, Upotte!! will go out of its way to explore the history and specific details for the firearms. The talk about the L85A1 was particularly noteworthy: as the strikes against the rifle mounts, Elle is reduced to tears.

  • Upotte!! came before Stella Women’s Academy, although I watched the latter first before deciding to give this one a shot. Both anime feature guns, although there is a more substantial underlying story in Stella Women’s Academy, and Upotte!! ends up being more driven by the unusual dynamics between Funco et al. and their Japanese instructor.

Upotte!! is, upon a cursory glance, completely outside the scope of my interests. Back during Spring 2012, the series didn’t capture my interests, and those who did end up watching it were polarised with respect to whether they liked it or not. The fairest assessments cite Upotte!! for excelling in the characterisation of different firearms, while criticising it for generic slice-of-life elements. Because of the unusual setup involving anthropomorphic guns in the high school setting, Upotte!! demands that viewers disengage their logical centres and watch the show with the expectation of having no expectations. From a personal perspective, that suits me just fine, since I watch anime with the intent of being entertained. I understand that some individuals demand intellectual content in their entertainment because it validates their reasons for watching to others (this is, in fact, something I should probably get around to discussing at some point in the future). This mindset is particularly troublesome, leading some to produce poorly-argued analyses on forums about works that never had deeper meaning. I view entertainment strictly as entertainment, and only write to reflect on any of my thoughts during an anime, rather than tell readers what to think of a particular work. As such, because I was able to crack a smile or laugh at the events in Upotte!!, I consider myself as being entertained, meaning that Upotte!! has done its job.

  • The rules for how the guns work in the girls’ hands are such that they cannot critically injure one another or another human unless the guns (i.e. the girls themselves) are wielded by human hands. The logic behind this defies my comprehension.

  • I’ve decided to leave out images of Sako, who is modeled after the SAKO Rk 97 Tp assault rifle: this is a talk about Upotte!!, not Alfheim Online, and moreover, I’m sure that posting Sako’s actions this episode would be the fastest way to lose all my readership in the span of seconds. Here, after a match ends, Ichihachi (the M18) pulls Galil out of the water: the two become inseparable after this event.

  • Weapons will jam and fail to operate when covered with mud or filled with sand. During the school match, Elle manages to exploit a technicality to help her and Ichiroku win a match, using her resourcefulness to overcome her rifle’s shortcomings.

  • There are a lot of characters: owing to the way my screenshots are taken, I’m still introducing characters despite being past the halfway mark. To the left is Tei (a Taiwanese T91), and to the right is Aug (the Steyr AUG): the former is often called “fountain” for her hair, and the latter can swap between a short-barrel carbine mode and a longer barrel. Reflecting this, her hair changes length, and she adopts a more aggressive personality while her long barrel is equipped.

  • Funco is seen in tears after being ousted by Elle’s appearance in a maid costume. When one stops to consider that the assault rifles are represented by middle school girls…the questionable nature in Upotte!! becomes amplified.

  • Jeethree uses an unusual technique for stabilising her rifle while it is firing on automatic. The high school students drop by to check on the girls’ progress, and from a personal perspective, it would be nice to see older siblings depicted as role models rather than antagonists in a given anime.

  • After Ichiyon’s “orange you glad I got you something to drink”, Ichiroku throws an exception and engages Ichiyon in a duel that undermines the class efforts in preparation for a culture festival. An  all-nighter the girls pull off manage to set things right, and the next morning, everyone is ready to roll.

  • Culture Festivals are intended to showcase a student body’s artistic capacities in Japanese schools: there is a lot of emphasis on the preparation process in most anime. The closest equivalent I’ve experienced would be various Open House Events: in junior high, I participated in Open House nights to help promote the school’s computer courses, answering questions and exhibiting cool student creations. At present, I’m still drafted into Undergraduate Open House events to speak with prospective students about the Bachelor of Health Sciences program (and why it is worth their while to enter the program).

  • I soon realise that the things I’ve been doing for the past ten years have not really changed, except at the level of impact for society. I still enjoy presentations, teaching, biology and computers as much as I did when I started junior high, although instead of helping with computer related stuff around the school, I’m conducting software development on physiology software.

  • Even though such a light-hearted series technically has no spoilers, I will spare viewers Funco’s frightening expression during her duel with an anthropomorphic AK-47. The last two episodes feel a little out of place with the rest of the series; Eastern-bloc weapons appear and wreck havoc for seemingly no reason, and although their presence has been hinted at, there isn’t anywhere near enough detail about them in the anime. The manga is still on-going and may provide more details.

Readers are probably wondering if Upotte!! is worth watching. I will first ask whether or not one has a bit privacy, since there is a frightening amount of questionable content in the anime. Representation of the trigger (which has nothing to do with the Dark Knight’s quest to find one) was, while entertaining, also surprisingly risqué and left me immensely grateful to have been watching this away from observers. There is also another explicit scene in the middle of the series involving Sako’s (Rk 95 Tp) reaction to seeing Funco down Galil (a representation of the Galil AR). There are many moments in the anime that I am not permitted to capture for screenshots owing to their content. However, as this post indicates, there are moments I can share, and those moments are in the majority. Despite being an ONA only available for online viewing at the time of its release, Upotte!! features good colouring and lighting effects, especially where the firearms and landscapes are depicted. Summer skies are of a deep azure, and sunsets are rich with warm colours, adding a bit of a nostalgic air to Upotte!!. Together with the amusing, and occasionally endearing character interactions (especially where Elle is concerned), the positive elements are definitely present in Upotte!! and outweigh the negatives. Away from other observers and with an open mind, Upotte!! is surprisingly enjoyable: it is a riot and succeeds in setting up ridiculous situations that only can be accomplished with anthropomorphic firearms. There is also an OVA out, which was released four months after the original series finished airing. I will get around to talking about it eventually because it carries on the same humour in the series and is therefore worth watching.

Upotte!!: First Impressions

“Personally, I think he’s just afraid of the headshot! HEADSHOT!” —FPS_Doug, Pure Pwnage

According to my archives, I followed no anime from the Spring 2012 period, given that I was engaged with coursework during that time. However, the situation has changed somewhat, and I now find myself feeling a wish to take a second look at some of the Spring 2012 offerings. Ever since picking up and playing Battlefield 3, Upotte!! and Stella Women’s Academy are the two anime that come to mind wherever gun play is involved. In Upotte!!, events occur at a school known as Seishou Academy. Unlike an average school, all the students are actually anthropomorphized guns, training to one day become a useful weapon, and is divided up into elementary school (sub-machine guns), middle school (assault rifles), and high school (battle/sniper rifles). All students in Seishou trains to shoot their target (literally) using live ammunition. The series mainly focuses on an FN FNC assault rifle nicknamed Funco and her friends. The premise doesn’t really make sense from a practical perspective, but I had heard that Upotte!! was, in a way, similar to Stella Women’s Academy, which I had enjoyed back during 2013 prior to Battlefield 4‘s release. Of course, after having bought Battlefield 3, I’ve now put in some 15 hours and have figured out my play-style as far as weapons and aims go. In most games, I’ll act as a medic, gaining most of my kills while trying to clear out an area so I can revive people, or suppressive class, placing ammunition kits and laying down heavy suppressive fire at choke points. Because I favour close quarters combat, I typically equip a Kobra sight or holographic RDS for my weapons, a laser sight and extended magazines. Of course, there is no HK 416 or LMGs in Upotte!!, but how does the rest of the anime fare?

  • Upotte!! is perhaps one of the most unusual anime in my library and one I would not readily recommend to anyone on the grounds that there are questionable points. Before I go further, the anime states that when the girls fire the guns, the results are non-lethal.

  • Because different components of the rifle correspond to different anatomical regions, Funco’s design leaves for some rather crude humour and she hospitalises her homeroom teacher after he accidentally mentions it in front of the others. Anyone who has played Battlefield: Bad Company 2 may crack a joke about the Frostbite 1.5 engine here as Funco’s gunfire collapses one of the buildings on campus grounds.

  • Jeethree and Ichiyon share conversation here: the former represents the German G3A3 battle rifle, and the latter is an American M14 battle rifle. She has a tomboyish personality: beautiful if she stays quiet, but she’s often crude and rowdy. Jeethree is an interesting character: despite her strict appearance (and resemblance to Shiho Nishizumi of Girls und Panzer or Stella Women’s Academy‘s Rin Haruna), she is very kind.

  • The FN FNC is a rifle developed in 1975-1977, being a selective-fire, rotary bolt weapon of Belgium origin. With an effective range of 250-400 meters, and a firing rate of roughly 650 rounds per minute, it is chambered for the 5.56 x 45mm NATO round. An energetic girl, Funco displays an attraction towards her homeroom teacher, although she reacts negatively whenever her skeleton stock is mentioned. I don’t think the FNC exists in Battlefield 3, although having seen how she reacts to thoughts about being deployed for service, I think I’m happier not using the gun as my mainstay. I’ll stick to my trusty HK 416, thank you very much.

  • For what it’s worth, Upotte!! presents to users a reasonable introduction to some of the assault rifles around the world. In Battlefield 3, assault rifles are the mainstay of the assault kit. This kit handles general purpose engagements at medium to long ranges and can equip a medical kit, as well as a defibrillator for reviving downed teammates. Conversely, the Battlefield: Bad Company 2 assault kit is intended as a support class for providing ammunition.

  • The  SIG SG-550 rifle is chambered for a 5.6 x 45mm  GP90 cartridge, which has further range than the lighter NATO rounds. Her grades are top notch and she’s an honor student, but a bit slow on the uptake on occasion. Sig excels at longer range combat and can operate in colder temperatures. In Battlefield 3, the SIG SG-553 is available as a carbine to the engineer kit and has clear iron sights. I’ve yet to actually unlock this.

  • The Colt M16A4 is the fourth generation of the M-16 rifle series and fires in three-round bursts or semi-automatically. Originally intended for use in the Vietnam War, the M16 was touted as a self-cleaning rifle and proved to be so unreliable that US soldiers often chose to use AK-47s picked up from the Viet Cong. After improvements were made to the rifle, the M16 became a mainstay of the US Armed Forces. Despite having a foul mouth with Osaka dialect, Ichiroku is very kind. Ichiroku has a large number of fans, as she is usually photographed for the cover of specialized gun magazines. In non-combat action, she tends to rapidly alternate between bursts of activity and sudden rests, relating to her namesake’s three-round burst fire only capacity.

  • Elle represents the L85A2 rifle, an improved variant of the SA80 rifle, but the poor quality plastic meant the gun was damaged easily; the magazine release catch was easily knocked accidentally and dropped the magazine. Moreover, the catch on the housing over the gas mechanism was too weak and constantly popped open, so it had to be taped down; only 26-28 rounds could be loaded in a magazine because the springs were weak, and it also had to be kept very clean and the lips checked for dents. As a result of its temperament, the L85A1 initially had a poor reputation amongst British Soldiers and Royal Marines as being unreliable and fragile. Elle embodies these traits, being shy and clumsy. Despite her unreliable nature and the habit of breaking a lot, she endures for the sake of her friends, and her interactions end up being quite endearing, even if the L85A1 would probably not be my go-to choice for an assault rifle.

  • One review claims that the art in Upotte!! is “horrible”, but fails to explain why this is the case. Because there is no argument, that claim is utterly worthless. A look at this screenshot is sufficient to challenge that claim; the lighting effects in Upotte!! are very nice, and the characters themselves are consistent with the high quality I’ve come to expect of anime.

  • Owing to its content, Upotte!! is something I’ll probably watch somewhere secure, away from curious eyes (as I did with Infinite Stratos and are currently doing with Super Sonico). This show probably isn’t for everyone, and it’s definitely not something that one should readily mention as a preferred anime. This does lead to the question of why I’m watching it: the answer to that is that I enjoy things with cheap laughs. Not all anime has to be intellectually stimulating to be good.

After the first episode, I realise this is going to be a purely comedy driven series with nothing in the way of story, which acts as a sort of promotional series for the various rifles used in modern warfare, whether it be the GP90 rounds used by the SIG-552 rifle for improved accuracy, or the M16A4’s burst firing as a means to conserve ammunition in closer-range firefights (I myself use semi-automatic fire at longer ranges on unsuspecting targets). Because the girls in the anime are anthropomorphic representations of the assault rifles, things get a little hectic as far as character interactions go (especially in regard to assault rifle design and how it translates to physical attributes for the girls). These elements do contribute to the humour, though, so I don’t particularly mind it (even the more risqué aspects, such as Funco’s rather indecent thoughts). Upotte!! is said to be one of the most controversial anime of the 2012 season, although a bit of inquisition finds that the controversy is limited to only a few locations, with criticisms being the oft ill-defended “wasted potential” and “mediocrity”. However, these points are invalid for the same reasons that one cannot perform in Battlefield when they treat their recon class as an assault class: Upotte!! is a fun anime above all else, emphasising ludicrous moments and set-ups in a light hearted environment to show off the personalities for service weapons, so it is hardly surprising that the story is of a lesser priority. I will continue with this anime for its entertainment factor and continue unlocking things in the assault kit such that I may try out the M16A4 myself: as I accumulate kills and accessories for the gun, I imagine I could turn it into a weapon that behaves like Halo 2, 3 and 4‘s battle rifles.